Thursday, October 6, 2011

Co-Stars Cook-Off

Last Friday I was invited to the the Diabetes Co-Stars: Cook-off in New York City.  Since I love to cook and bake, I was excited to see what this cook-off of “diabetes friendly recipes” would be all about.


The Diabetes Co-Stars are actor Paul Sorvino and his actress daughter Mira.  In 2006 Paul was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a diagnosis he chose to hide from his family.  Mira learned of her father’s condition when he became ill after eating a big plate of pasta fagioli (a carb-filled tomato based soup full of beans and macaroni, for you non-Italians out there!!).  Mira was inspired to learn all she could about Type 2 diabetes and to become a great support system for her dad.  Paul has since lost 20 pounds and they both work hard to eat a healthy diet.  Although they admit the dietary changes were tough at first, they said eating healthy  has now become second nature.

The big keyword at the event was “diabetes friendly”, which was mentioned time and time again.  I’ll admit, those words usually make me bristle a bit because I think healthy food is important for everyone -whether you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes or NO DIABETES!   Lower fat and lower carb choices are good for everyone.  That said, I really did like these recipes!! 


The two contestants in the cook-off were Lauren (pictured with Mira above) and Hidemi (pictured with Paul below), and they both have family members with diabetes.   They also were cooking yummy pie recipies - although I’m not sure if the contests called for only dessert recopies to be submitted.  Lauren’s pie was an Apple Rhubarb Fantasy Pie, which was made healthier by swapping the white flour for whole wheat flour and by using vegan butter, which is  lower in fat.  She also bakes with Splenda because it’s one-for-one swap with sugar makes substituting easier.


Hidemi made a Berry Soy Milk Cream Pie with a Panko Crust.   They soy milk makes it a dairy-free pie and she used sugar-free honey as her sweetener.

Once they demonstrated how to make the  pies, the judges sampled them both.  And so did the audience!!  Little pies were passed around for everyone to try.  (No carb counts though - I had to swag it and ended up low during my walk back to Grand Central Station.)  Here’s my Pie-Opinion . . . . they were both very good.  The soy milk in the Berry Soy Milk Cream Pie was cooked down into a pudding layer that was then topped with the berries.  It was light, but in my opinion it was very bland and needed some more flavor and some more sweetness.  While Lauren was cooking the Apple Rhubarb Pie she made the comment that it was “a very sweet pie”, and it was, but not overly sweet.  It had a crumble topping and it was delicious!!  I couldn’t tell the crust was made with whole wheat flour instead of regular flour and I couldn’t taste the rhubarb (which I’m not a fan of) - it just tasted like a yummy apple crumb pie!!

I guess the judges didn’t agree with me, because Hidemi’s Berry Soy Milk Cream Pie was declared the winner.  Not to say it wasn’t a good pie - it was - I just liked Lauren’s Apple Rhubarb Fantasy Pie better.  (Click those links to see the recipes and bake them at your house!!)

What do you think of recipes that use the words “diabetes-friendly”?  And what is your favorite healthy meal?


  1. i think that for something to be diabetes-friendly at the very least it would need to include carb counts! ;)

    looks like a fun night out though. also, yay pies!

  2. Well, that sure sounded like a fun event to attend.

    I'm with you. I'm not crazy about the term "diabetes friendly." All too often, it equates to ingredients I'd prefer my family didn't eat. But I'm all for eating fewer fats and carbs and making healthier choices.

  3. What a cool concept for a cook-off! We need a Chopped-style competition where contestants finish with carb counts as well (like Shannon said). :)

  4. You're right, the term "diabetes friendly" is not a great description, but some habits die much harder than others I guess. One thing I notice in both recipes is that they both used flour or bread crumbs (panko), and I hate to break it to these people, but those are carb-dense foods. Also, "sugar-free honey" (a.k.a. imitation honey) is a mystery to me since honey has a strong flavor that often dominates the taste of something, much like maple syrup does. Also, sugar-free honey is loaded with sugar alcohols: sorbitol and maltitol, which is sometimes referred to as a "spoonful of diarrhea" making me wonder why they just didn't use another artificial sweetner. One of the reasons dLife's Chef Michel Nischan is so popular is because he typically avoids the use of carb-dense foods and many artificial "replacement" ingredients altogether, relying on interesting replacements for these standards. Still, this sounded interesting and it would be nice to see them continue similar events.


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